News

Albuquerque Journal Editorial: Valles Caldera plan a win

Easier and more affordable access is coming to the Valles Caldera National Preserve in the Jemez Mountains.

And that means more people will be able to enjoy the 89,0000-acre preserve that features stunning mountain peaks, meandering streams, soaring views, vast plains and opportunities to fish, hike and photograph – and when in-season hunt wildlife – on the former Baca Ranch the U.S. government purchased in 2000.

Come October, management of the preserve will pass to the National Park Service. To date it has been managed by a trust, with access limited and expensive.

The new rules and fees were developed in collaboration with the Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service and tribal and pueblo partners.

Under the new format approved by the Valles Caldera Trust Board of Trustees, the entrance fee will be $20 per vehicle and $10 per person for hikers or bicyclists – valid for seven days for all self-guided recreational activities including hiking, fishing, mountain biking and horseback riding. Special events, guided hikes, van tours and the use of the headquarters shuttle will also be free with entry.

The Valles Caldera opens Friday. It is a treasure, and care must be taken to preserve its integrity and beauty. But at the same time, the people who own it – U.S. citizens – should get to enjoy it to the extent possible as long as they do so respectfully. This plan looks like a winner from all viewpoints.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.

Week of celebrations will mark Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks’ 1st Anniversary

For Immediate Release
May 16, 2015

Community events begin with May 15 kick-off;
Sen. Heinrich cookout on May 16

(LAS CRUCES) – Local businesses, civic groups and community leaders have planned a week of events and celebrations to mark the first anniversary of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument (OMDP), which was established by President Obama on May 21, 2014.

The week of celebration begins May 15 with a kick-off event, 5:30 p.m. at the Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, sponsored by the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce and the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance.

In addition to the events, local businesses will be offering OMDP-related discounts and special offers throughout the week.

All events are open to the public. Visit here for a complete listing of all events.

In addition, local business owners have been featured in a series of short videos and profiles about what the monument means to them. These profiles and videos can be found here. Profiled businesses are also available for media interviews. Contact Carrie Hamblen at 575-496-5242 for details.

Organ Mountains Desert Peaks Anniversary Celebrations for May 15-17:

Friday, May 15th                                        5:30pm to 8pm                        

OMDP Kick-off Celebration at the Farm and Ranch MuseumFeaturing a tribal blessing, the unveiling of the OMDP Achievement badge for the Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest, entertainment, and booths and information related to the monument.  The event will feature a “class picture” taken of all of the groups and individuals who worked to help establish the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.

Event co-sponsored by:  Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce and the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance

Location:  New Mexico Farm and Ranch Museum, 4100 Dripping Springs Road, Las Cruces, NM 88011

Cost:  Free

 

Saturday, May 16th                                   8am to noon                                      

OMDP daytime activities at Dripping Springs Natural Area.  Features a bird walk, meet the Hermit of La Cueva, a hike to the Eugene Van Patten Ruins, and an expert talk about the geology of the monument.  The event ends with a special 15th birthday celebration of National Conservation Lands which will include cake and hands-on activities for kids of all ages.

Sponsored by:  Bureau of Land Management

Location:  Dripping Springs Natural Area, Dripping Springs Road.

Cost:  No fees charged May 16th and 17th at Dripping Springs or Aguirre Springs

 

Saturday, May 16th                                   5pm to 9pm                                       

OMDP Big Game Cookout at the Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park featuring Sen. Heinrich.  Join Senator Martin Heinrich for elk tacos cooked on discos, local beer from High Desert Brewing, live music, and more.

Sponsored by:  New Mexico Wildlife Federation     

Location:  Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park, 5000 Calle Del Norte, Mesilla, NM 88046

Cost:  $5.00 Day use fee may apply

 

Sunday, May 17th                                      9am to 10am                                               

OMDP Interfaith Service at Dripping Springs.  Religious leaders from the community will come together to host an interfaith service at the La Cueva amphitheater.

Sponsored by:  NM CAFé

Location:  Dripping Springs Natural Area, Dripping Springs Road.

Cost:  No fees charged May 16th and 17th at Dripping Springs or Aguirre Springs

 

For a full listing of all the week’s events, please visit:

http://locallascruces.com/omdpweek/

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Wolves In The News

Click Here for PDF of article

ABQ Jornal Editorial: Game board unfairly takes aim at gray wolf protector

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
Playing tit for tat with an endangered species is not only unproductive; it’s petty. Yet that appears to be what the New Mexico Game Commission did last week when it declined to renew a permit that had been in place for 17 years allowing Ted Turner’s Ladder Ranch in the Gila mountains to assist the federal Mexican gray wolf recovery program. Ever since the program began in 1998, the Turner ranch has worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to provide pen space for holding endangered wolves being taken from the wild or being reintroduced into the wilderness. Turner raises bison commercially on the 156,000-acre ranch in Sierra County and maintains it as a habitat for endangered and threatened species and for ecotourism.

Currently, there are just over 100 Mexican gray wolves in the wild – a species that once numbered in the thousands. In the past, the Game and Fish director routinely signed off on the Turner permit. However, in November, the commission adopted a rule requiring commission approval for permits to keep wolves and other carnivores on private land for purposes of recovery or reintroduction. It appears to target the wolf program, and last week’s action is likely to hamper its success.

Mike Phillips, director of the Turner Endangered Species Fund, said the commission hasn’t had a problem with the ranch and suggested “they are opposed to the Mexican wolf recovery program as currently constituted.” That may relate to a new Fish and Wildlife Service rule that greatly expanded the wolves’ range south to the Mexican
border and north to Interstate 40 and broadened areas where wolves bred in captivity could be released. It also gave ranchers, who generally oppose the program, more authority to shoot wolves dead if they prey on livestock or domestic animals.

Unlike the Bill Richardson administration, which supported the program, Gov. Susana Martinez has not been friendly to it – even though it has been popular with many New Mexicans. A 2008 survey by Research & Polling found 69 percent either strongly supported or somewhat supported the program. In 2011, the governor-appointed Game Commission suspended state participation.

Landowner rights should not become as endangered as the wolf. Turner should be allowed to use his property as he wishes in cooperation with the federal government, and the commission shouldn’t flex its self-granted power to punish a private landowner to make a statement. This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.

For more about NMWA’s work with Mexican Gray Wolves, CLICK HERE

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